The longest day of the year, Midsummer celebrates the peak of the earth's power on the summer solstice. As a time of plenty, this sabbat celebrates fertility, purification, health, love, and gratitude. Traditions include bonfires and communicating with faeries and forest spirits. Many Wiccans consider this day as ideal for magick, particularly for manifesting. After this day, the God begins to wane.
Other traditions refer back to the fight between the Holly and Oak Kings. They battle once again with the Holly King as victor. As such, the Holly King rules the remainder of the year until the next battle at Yule.
Midsummer Celebration Ideas for Beginners
The holiday of Midsummer falls on the summer solstice, celebrating the peak of activity and fertility of the earth and its inhabitants. This is the longest day of the year and marks the center point between the awakening of the earth and its decline into darker months. After this day, the length of each day begins to diminish. This is a time of plenty, not like that of the harvest season, but in terms of solar energy and vitality. The earth is fertile and life is full with potential. This is a time for feasting and enjoying the gifts of the land. Many options are readily available to the beginner looking to honor this time of year.
Enjoy the Outdoors
Take advantage of warmer weather and get out there and enjoy nature. During Beltane you noticed everything in bloom, but that was only the beginning stages of life for most of the plants and animals. Now everything is at its peak. From here on out, all that bloomed to life will head toward the later stages of life and end during the colder months. Some plants have already started dying away and have left seeds that will bring new growth next spring.
Go camping or enjoy a nice, long hike. If practical, do so during the early morning hours and watch the sunrise. Notice all the potential the plants and animals have and consider your own potential. No matter what stage of life you are in, there is a part of your life that has the same peak potential during this time of year. Take some cues from nature and learn to recognize and harness that potential.
Dance Around the Fire
Fires symbolize energy and passion, and bonfires were lit during this time in honor of the peak energy. Although a large bonfire may not be practical, a small one is much easier to maintain. If you have the space, resources, and safety know-how, put together a small fire to enjoy. Be sure to check for fire-warnings ahead of time. If your area is suffering from drought, wildfire risk will be much higher. Also, if you live somewhere with plants that can catch fire easily, having even a small fire-pit lit will be banned during dry periods. Anytime you are working with fire, be sure to keep safety as the number one priority to ensure your experience is an enjoyable one.
Battle It Out
According to some traditions the waxing and waning halves of the year are ruled by the Oak and Holly Kings respectively. At Yule, the two battled and the Oak King won. He has ruled through the months since. Now, the wheel is turning toward the waning half the year. As such, the two kings come together to battle once more. This time, however, it is the Holly King who wins and will rule over the year as it wanes in the coming months. This battle can be reenacted by actors, a puppet show, written words, or any other creative means of sharing the story of the battle.
Fruits of the Season
The foods best for this Sabbat are those that are in season. Depending upon geographical location, this will be different. However, traditional foods during this time of year include pickled herring, potatoes, squash, plums, lemons, and other fruits. Other foods enjoyed during this time of year include breads and cheeses. Make plenty of food and share with friends, family, and neighbors. You may even consider making special snacks with these seasonal foods to take with you on that long hike. As you are enjoying your feast, be sure to reflect on the processes that went into the creation of these foods and how they came to be on your plate.
For decorating the home and yard think "sun"! Gold and yellow to represent the sun and greens to represent the fertile earth are ideal colors for tapestries, table clothes, and crafts. If you have a yard, consider planting sunflowers and other summer flowers or bring some into your home. When making crafts, consider decorations with sun imagery. Other imagery may include outdoor play, flowers in bloom, and anything else that reminds you of energy and summertime.
Look Forward to the Future
As we celebrate this day of peak power, we cannot help but to become aware that the energy will wane in future months. However, this awareness comes with the recognition that energy is an ebb and flow. The wheel keeps spinning, and Midsummer will come around again. As such, do not look at the waning of energy as a negative, but a positive reminder that we will move into a period of rest and reflection followed by times of active energy and forward motion. Let this reminder inspire and push you ever closer to the accomplishment of your goals.
© 2012 by Evylyn Rose